RAMESH PRASAD BHUSHAL
A fight ensued. Both boys began waving their khukris at each other. Their families—parents and children alike—joined in the fray, beating each other with sticks, pulling the women’s braids, grabbing at clothes, scratching, and screaming. The boys began hitting with their khukris. Afterwards all were bruised, some were bleeding, clothes were ripped and shoes were lost”. This is a paragraph written by The Stanford University researcher Elizabeth Hadly in ‘The New York Times’ who witnessed such a fight that happened for a bundle of firewood in some high hill of Nepal. At a time when the world’s leaders failed to pave the path for sustainable development from the Rio meeting in Brazil this week, the real stories around the world are represented by the story mentioned above.
Likewise, I was in Bhotekoshi river this week— one of the world’s most popular river for rafting that originates from Nepal-China border—with the aim to report the conflict on development of hydro-projects. Some people are against the development at the present model which will make the upper segment of the river dry, ending the charm of world class rafting river, and were demanding reducing the capacity that will save the rafting segment of the river and set an example of sustainable development where tourism and power could be harmonized. But there was a significant mass that appeared in favor of the project at the present model and reasoned that hydro-power is the only means to eliminate poverty and make the villages prosperous. A month ago there was a clash between two groups and two people were critically injured. There is high possibility of clashes in future that could be discerned from the anger that both groups expressed. These two could be case studies of local level issues of sustainable development that would never be discussed in global meetings that only deliver words and reiterate commitments.
At a time when the world leaders failed to address the environmental problems which are real and have links with sustainable development during the Rio+20 meeting in Brazil, the communities all over the world are drowning into problems which the leaders will never listen to, and it’s futile to expect much from the leaders who never think for the good of this planet but have always do so only about their countries. They never thought about maintaining a room or a part of the house that will ensure the stability of the whole house as it could collapse anytime.
There are so many technical terms coined every year during global meetings about which more than half of the world populations have even not heard about and only a few millions may have heard about, but they don’t understand them and a few hundred thousands keep on talking and writing about them, because it is their job. And, this is the bitter reality of the global meetings. Undoubtedly the earth is degrading as the population is increasing day by day and depletion of resources is at a greater pace. But why do not the leaders understand these realities. The Executive Director of Greenpeace International Kumi Naidoo said the vested interest of individual countries, especially of developed ones, resulted into the failure of the meeting. “Governments have failed to produce the historic deal we need to address the perfect storm of crises: of equity, ecology and economy. We didn’t get the Future we want in Rio, because we do not have the leaders we need. The leaders of the most powerful countries supported business as usual, shamefully putting private profit before people and the planet,” he said.
The world leaders don’t know the reality but the truth is they are more into domestic and international politics of resources and economy than on the thought of saving the planet. “From the G20 to Rio+20 this is not a good week for people and the planet. While billions are being spent bailing out banks and billions more on subsidizing the fossil fuel industry, it’s clear whose agenda our leaders are following, that of business as usual of polluting corporations,” the activists opined which seems very real.
The world leaders have agreed to talk but not to act, they set the agenda but don’t talk about the money needed to implement them, and they come to the meetings and agree to come again. So, the global meetings are becoming fruitless at a time when the world really needs to harness development with the environment.
The only thing that could be predicted is that no meetings with the same mentality will be able to forge consensus and save the planet. If we really want to save the planet we need to be realistic and accept the mistakes made in the past and be ready to face the punishment in the future. The Rio+ 20 delivered what was expected, because it wasn’t expected that the world leaders would bring the roadmap for the future of the earth because it has already been experienced from the past seventeen meetings on climate change for fifteen years where the consensus for solution is still a distant object. So, we need to reduce our expectations and act locally if we want to save the planet, but pressurizing the leaders is also important as we don’t have options for the pretending leaders whom we are obliged to trust.